St. Joseph's Indian School

Rating: 2.37 stars   27 reviews

Nonprofit Issues:

Education, Religion

Address:

1301 N. Main St PO Box 89 Chamberlain SD 57325 USA

Mission:

Since 1927, St. Joseph's Indian School has been serving the Native American people in South Dakota. By responding to the needs of the whole child through an enriched and integrated living and learning environment, we provide opportunity for a balanced, healthy lifestyle through education, group home living, the development and appreciation of spirituality and culture, and the promotion of personal growth and self-esteem.

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http://www.stjo.org

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Reviews for St. Joseph's Indian School

Rating: 2 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

Like perhaps most of you I'm a generous non-profit supporter who gets St Joseph's Indian School mailings. Check out the CNN report. It tells the complicated story of this school with happy-looking children, generic student pleas for help, and a $30 million fundraising budget. I've chosen not to donate.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/

 
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Rating: 1 stars  

32 people found this review helpful

I have donated many years to this organization. They keep sending me 'junk' that I don't want/need...stickers, note pads, cards, address labels, dream catchers, etc...a lot of money could be saved if they would stop this practice and instead spend it on the children, etc
Until I see a full financial statement disclosed I am stopping my contributions.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

54 people found this review helpful

Does this Catholic "non-profit" even need donations???? St. Joseph's has over $122 million in assets! Yet it raises over $50 million per year in donations, but spends less than 60% of funds on services. If 60% ($30 million) is actually spent to support the 200 Native American children at the school, each child's annual support is $150,000!!!

St. Joseph's will not report to Give.org. (Better Business Bureau). I give to reputable charities who disclose their donations and expenses to the public at Give.org, Charity Navigator, or similar outside agencies and where over 80% of funds raised go to actual services.

St. Joseph's spends 30% on fundraising, mailing fat packets to potential donors. Do donors really want $15 million per year (30% of $50 million) to support direct mail companies?! The 2015 packet I received contains a Windcatcher (made in China), 3 Christmas cards, an Advent calendar, Christmas gift tags, Christmas stationery seals, 2016 calendar, personalized Certificate of Appreciation, personalized address labels, large notepad and small notepad. Personally, I'd rather see the money spent on books and educational supplies for the children.

Also, even though 50% of the students are NOT Catholic, the administration acknowledges that " we do make our kids go to mass on Sunday." OUTRAGE! How is this different from the indoctrination of the 1920's, forcing Native American children to learn the "white man's religion?"

Hope more people will investigate before giving.
SEE: http://www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/american-indian/st-josephs-indian-school-and-missions-in-chamberlain-sd-675
SEE: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/
SEE: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1209


Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

40 people found this review helpful

I have also done research and am VERY concerned about this organization. I see reviews here that folks who donate say that the school is doing a great job with the kids and to trust them. Fine. But why can they not be open about their finances? What have they to hide?

The simple financial calculations are these: They raise $50 million a year or more per year through their mass mailings. They have 200 kids in their school. At the finest boarding schools in the country tuition tops out in the $40,000 range with all the perks. That means that that they should be able to run this school for $8million. If they spend half of what they receive on mailing materials and postage that would be $25 million to the advertising companies. That the still leaves 17 million per year unaccounted for.

Bottom line: This is clearly a scam.

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

38 people found this review helpful

I looked into this charity, saw that there are no ratings from multiple charity rating organizations that I hold in high esteem, so there is no breakdown of their financials (religious organization that doesn't need to disclose this) and how they spend their donations/fund raising. Also found this :

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/

Make your own decision. Based on all this information, I personally will not donate to them.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

50 people found this review helpful

I would simply like to ask this question: How much did it cost this organization to send me a donation request that contained ALL of the following items: a pen, notepad, calendar, 3 cellophane-wrapped greeting cards with envelopes, a dream catcher (presumably made in China or Taiwan) with a color-printed legend enclosed, gold embossed self-adhesive personalize address labels, personalized "checks" in specific donation amounts, and a beautifully embossed gold-trimmed certificate of appreciation for my financial support - which I have not yet given???

If that's how this organization spends its public donation money, I'm appalled.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

46 people found this review helpful

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Why is there cash on hand increasing so much? It seems the only money they are spending is on their own salaries. The children in the commercials are actors. They are another company who's primary purpose is to make more money and give themselves bigger salaries. I would not send them a dime.

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 2 stars  

61 people found this review helpful

According to the BBB, this organization does not meets its Standards for Charity Accountability.

http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/american-indian/st-josephs-indian-school-and-missions-in-chamberlain-sd-675/all

I've given to them in the past, and figure they probably help some kids, but according to the its consolidated audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, the organization spent $30,278,951 or 57% of its total expenses ($53,021,662) on program service activities. So only about 30% of the income actually went to help the program/kids.

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 2 stars  

39 people found this review helpful

I keep checking on the validity of this organization and know that they are a 501c3
http://www.stjo.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_501c3

.....but since they're 'religious' they don't have to report their administrative costs. http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/46-0235912/st-josephs-indian-school.aspx#recommendations WHY should they be exempt????????

It just sounds suspicious. They are completely outside of some of the best practices for 'savvy donors':
http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=419

According to 'The Non-Profit Times', "The average American believes that a charity should spend no more than 23 percent on overhead but that charities actually spend 36.9 cents on the dollar."
http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/survey-charities-should-spend-23-on-overhead/

If they don't report anything, how do we know how they use the donations???

I want to check out any charities, before I blindly donate to them. (e.g. Better Business Bureau?)
http://interact.stltoday.com/pr/non-profits/PR111113112115009

It is VITAL to support our Native American population. I just want my donations to go where they are most effective......

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Report how your donations are spent and what the administrative costs are, so we can be sure the there are not any 'fat cats' at the top of your organization who are the main beneficiaries of my donation.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unlikely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 4 stars  

24 people found this review helpful

I did some research and found that South Dakota has 7 of the 10 poorest counties in the US! ( http://www.onjinjinkta.com/native/reservationindex.html ) Note: Since they're a religious organization (St Joseph's) they're not evaluated by 'Charity Navigator' ( http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?keyword_list=st+joseph%27s+indian+school&Submit2=GO&bay=search.results ) I carefully select what organizations I donate to and feel that this one deserves my contribution.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

This charity rocks!! They deal with poor kids and that's great

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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